Newly released data shows the sudden shock to Idaho’s economy in a stark way: 13,134 people filed for unemployment claims last week.
That’s the most in a single week in more than 20 years, according to data compiled by the New York Times. Since 2000, the average number of weekly claims stood at 3,000. The latest number represents an increase of 337% over average.
Unemployment claims generally follow a seasonal pattern – rising in the winter and falling in the summer. The data showed the seasonal claims starting to decline as we head towards the summer, before the dramatic spike.
The dramatic rise in the number of Idahoans filing for unemployment towers far above even the peak of the Great Recession, which helps illustrate the sudden shock to the economy over the last three weeks.
Scores of businesses across the state closed in recent weeks – particularly in the restaurant and service industries – as social distancing and other orders went into effect.
Nationwide, the Times reports 3.28 million people filed for unemployment insurance.
Idaho fared better than some states. Neighboring Washington, for example, saw its weekly rate jump 1,234% over the average. That state is one of the first to see the dramatic impacts of COVID-19. Oregon, however, saw a smaller average increase than Idaho – with claims increasing 185% from the weekly average.